6th May 2018

Christ is the Key 

“Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.”
Galatians 3:22-23 (NIV)
 

Ever wondered how many Old Testament laws? The one enumerated by the Mitzvot, is 613. Yes, six hundred and thirteen laws. These range from comprehensive laws like the Ten Commandments, to smaller ones such as which insects are okay to eat. “Was all of that really necessary?” And while I agree that wearing a garment mixing linen with cotton probably isn’t a salvation issue, there was a divine purpose at work. The Apostle Paul writes about it in the scripture quoted above.

Paul is emphasizing the necessity of the Law as forerunner to what came next: the grace offered through salvation in Christ. As a Pharisee, Paul had devoted his life to the Law: learning it, debating it, and following it to the letter He approached the law this way because he had come to regard it as setting out the conditions to merit or earn God’s faithfulness, forgiveness and love. He knew by painful experience just how “locked up” one could truly become trying to earn God’s salvation through conformity with the demands of the Law. In short, he was obeying the law, not out of faith in the nature and character and purposes of God, but out of unbelief and distrust in God’s covenant heart and promises.

Part of Paul’s conversion involved coming to understand how we are to live in the covenant faithfulness of God. They describe in detail how to obey out of trust in God’s promises to them and through them to all people. But resistance and disobedience to these laws, graciously given to Israel, would also expose their hard and distrustful hearts. It would reveal the true depth of their sinful nature and prepare them to see their profound need for the redeeming work of Christ—a work needing somehow to give them new hearts and renewed spirits.

The laws given to Israel were never meant to provide a contractual way for Israel to earn God’s blessing. God is a blessing God. But even through the misuse of the Law out of unbelief, God still used it to powerfully to draw his people to trust in the fulfilment of his promises to bring about their salvation in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is ‘the accomplished’ for us. As our great high priest he obeyed by faith even to the point of death in order to give us a share in his transformed human nature, in his renewed spirit. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

By living a ‘sinless-accomplished’ for us, now allows us, by the Spirit, to live by grace, through faith in his redemptive work on the cross. Our obedience to the Word of God now can come out of trust in the fulfilment of his covenant promises. In the infinite wisdom of our Triune God, Christ’s work was key to unlocking all humanity, freeing us to live eternally out of the obedience of faith!

Prayer
Loving Father, thank you for everything that Jesus did for us. Frankly, understanding his role and commitment to us is at times beyond us. We can show our thanks by living a life of faith, so please help us to do just that. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Study by Greg Williams

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About the Author:
Greg Williams is Vice President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in North Carolina, USA.

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You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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